Thursday, January 8, 2015


Prof campaigning on BRT bus
The All Progressives Congress presidential running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is introducing an entirely new approach to electioneering in the country.

With gala seller
Prof with 'boli' seller
In the academia, attaining the rank of a professor is essentially the pinnacle of the teaching profession. But in politics, winning elections to occupy electoral offices is what is considered the hallmark of successful politician. So, when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was named the running mate to former military Head of State and presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, what was important was to shore up his public acceptance and prepare the two men for electoral victory. Though he is not entirely a political novice, especially having been an Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, especially as an egghead in contributing to policy formulations in Lagos State, he, unlike most professional politicians, lacks name recognition.

Therefore, when it became obvious that former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, was not the match needed for Buhari as running mate and Osinbajo was put forward instead, the onus was on the party to project the relatively unknown choice. Determined to bridge the gap and work within the short time allowed for campaigns before the election, Osinbajo has opted for a rather radical and uncommon campaign approach that has seen him personally meeting with potential voters on the streets of Lagos. Capped 'Walk the Wards with Osinbajo', the presidential running mate has spent the last two weeks inside the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) at different locations including the Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Surulere, Ikeja, Yaba, Iyana-Ipaja and other parts of the state, personally selling the party to the people and canvassing for votes. Indeed, Osinbajo rode on the BRT on Christmas day, canvassing for votes for the Buhari-Osinbajo. He was also quick to share the image of his conversation with passengers on the bus on twitter, where he said the bus ride was a privilege for him to articulate the programmes of the APC to Nigerians.

"Rode on the bus and spoke to my fellow citizens, it was better than a thousand seminars!" he said and in less than six hours after the tweet, there were over 650 re-tweets and 100 favourites. But while some of his supporters commended the initiative, some others felt he was just playing some mind games to garner votes for the APC.

On December 27, he continued with his campaign approach when he took to the streets of Lagos to personally canvass support for the APC. The street campaigns which was characterised by Buhari-Osinbajo branded motorcade and a lot of enthusiastic youths and party supporters kicked off at 8, Idowu Martins, the APC presidential campaign office in Victoria Island, went through Saka Tinubu, Bar Beach, Obalende and ended in Campus Square. During the carnival-like road show, Osinbajo met with the people on the street and implored them to support the change APC is clamouring for. At Moloney Street, he alighted from his car, met with a roasted plantain seller, residents sitting at the front of their houses, passersby and later boarded commercial tricycles popularly known as 'Keke Marwa' which conveyed him to Obalende amidst cheers from the people.

At Obalende, Osinbajo met with practically all the street traders on the road, approaching Awolowo Way and during his close interaction with the people, he explained that his party, the APC, is committed to improving the living conditions of the poor masses, presented them with the party manifesto and enjoined the people to obtain the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to enable them participate in the election. He later proceeded to the residence of the Hausa leader in the community to solicit the support of the people in the coming election. Two days after that, the campaign train berthed at White House Restaurant, Sabo, Yaba, where Osinbajo and his team met with Lagosians having their launch.

The following day, the people converged on Iyana-Ipaja and while there, Osinbajo fielded questions from some members of the public, where he assured Nigerians that "Buhari remains the right person to address the series of problems confronting the country." As the campaign train went about in different parts of Lagos, some of the most important issues Osinbajo has been addressing with the people are job creation, youth empowerment, corruption, power, security and the economy.

By Shola Oyeyipo


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